Istanbul (1956-1961) / The Fallout of the Istanbul Riots

The Istanbul Pogrom (also known as the Istanbul Riots) took place on 6th and 7th September 1955 in Istanbul. It stemmed from the friction between Turkey and Greece over the Cyprus Issue which was due to Turkeys invasion of Cyprus. The riots started off as an anti-Greek demonstration that attacked many Greek properties. Mob attacks were organized that were directed primarily towards Istanbul’s non-muslim residents who were primarily the Greek minorities.

This caused major destruction to commercial streets in Istanbul. The riots started from Taksim Square, and rippled out through the old suburb of Beyoğlu, ransacking Greek shops on major commercial streets e.g. İstiklal Avenue, Yüksek Kaldırım street. The anti-Greek riots were a tipping point in Istanbul and led to the accelerated emigration of ethnic Greeks away from Istanbul and Turkey.

The widespread riots also impacted the urban landscape of Istanbul caused by the tremendous destruction that took place in the commercial streets and the old suburb of Istanbul. This led to the reconstruction of new structures and was the major reason for the reconstruction of the city. Menderes and Democrat Party were suspected of being involved in and executing these attacks. Menderes was charged for conducting the attack on the trial after the 1960 coup. Most importantly, the whole demonstration provided an excuse for The Redevelopment Act to take place, to create a “Little America”. 


 Riots attacking Greek Properties


 Anti-Greek Demonstration


Destruction of Major Commercial Streets

1 Comment on “Istanbul (1956-1961) / The Fallout of the Istanbul Riots

  1. I feel that it is interesting to understand the impact of a political riot on the architectural properties of a city in terms of how by publicly voicing out people’s opinions could lead to such a physical dispute. Although it would also be intriguing to understand what kind of architectural structures were rebuilt after the demolition of certain structures. For instance, what kind of cultural and religious influences did they have on the design of the structures or influences from the riot itself if any.

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